The Unremembered

54 soldiers and vets killed themselves after returning from Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

One-third of the number of soldiers who died in the war.

That’s eye opening.

This piece in the November 1st Globe&Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/romeo-dallaire-decries-governments-penny-pinching-care-for-vets/article27060807/ shines a light on how as a nation we’re not committing sufficient resources to our efforts.

In the piece Michael Blais, founder of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, suspects the suicide count of 54 is lower than the actual number.

Romeo Dallaire, a former lieutenant-general and once chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Veterans Affairs also believes the number to be a low reflection saying:

“The way you had to go about getting information from DND … is indicative that their attitude toward these suicides is totally wrong. They try to hide them or to minimize them instead of recognizing them,”

In 2013 CTV News reported a $20-million lawsuit against the government filed by a soldier from Nova Scotia claiming the military ignored his PTSD: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/mental-health-care-needs-among-soldiers-expected-to-increase-military-psychiatrist-1.1567519

A September 5th 2012 piece in the National Post explores another case of a soldier participating in attempts to improve his own care that were unsuccessful: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-soldier-who-committed-suicide-killed-by-the-military-stepfather-says

This Globe&Mail chart from 2013 provides the number of suicides among male Canadian Armed Forces personnel from 1995 through 2013:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/number-of-suicides-among-male-canadian-armed-forces-personnel/article15816541/

You can’t help but recognize a spike in the 2009 through 2013 numbers.

Canada has recently undergone a huge attitude adjustment, one where the belief is that better is always possible.

The November 1st Globe article states that Mr. Dallaire briefed Mr. Trudeau on veterans’ issues before the election campaign and his take is to provide a military covenant outlining a duty of care to soldiers:

“That doesn’t mean running away with the Treasury, but it does mean putting the same emphasis of financial engagement … and support for these people as we do to the damn trucks and vehicles … we spend billions maintaining.”

Let’s do that.

I even know a way to raise the seed money.

Scrap the LAV3 Monument Program entirely.

In Aurora this project represents a combined cost of $42,000:

– Purchase price of $17,000
– Transportation & Delivery $10,000
– Concrete pad & Pedestal $15,000

Pshaw, what’s $42,000 you say.

Multiply that by all 250 proposed monuments and the savings will be an average of $10.5 Million.

Now weigh the costs.

$10.5 Million to drop the carcasses of vehicles suffering recognized design flaws, and that the US may not agree to without incurring additional costs into communities that may not want them.

vs.

$10.5 Million that can be used to serve those who served us and we were lucky to bring home.

* The image above is that by illustrator extraordinaire Sebastien Thibault. Check out more of his work at: http://sebastienthibault.com/Suicide-in-the-Military

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